February 24, 2011
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Thursday that Cambodia will ask Indonesia to continue to act as mediator in 2012 when Cambodia would be ASEAN chair.
"Cambodia will be ASEAN chair in 2012, so Cambodia cannot play as both footballer and referee at the same time in the negotiation of the dispute with Thailand, " Hun Sen said during closing the national conference of the Ministry of Interior, which attended by 350 senior national police.
"So we will ask Indonesia to mediate the negotiations between Cambodia and Thailand on behalf of ASEAN. Cambodia will not use the role of ASEAN chair in negotiating with Thailand," he said. "This is a preliminary initiative," he said.
"Now, the most important thing, we wish, is Indonesia to send observers as soon as possible to the border," he said.
Hun Sen thanked Indonesia, as ASEAN chair, has played important role in convening the ASEAN foreign minister's meeting on Feb. 22, adding that the meeting has made very good results which were needed by Cambodia and Thailand, as well as the ASEAN.
The premier suggested that the first bilateral meeting between Cambodia and Thailand will be held in Indonesia with the presence of ASEAN chair or representative and the first meeting will be the defense ministerial one.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen said that Thailand need not to withdraw its troops from its border.
"I have not requested Thailand to withdraw armed forces from its territory, your forces on your territory is your rights, and Cambodian forces are on Cambodian land, it's Cambodia's rights," he said. "I just suggested Thai side for no mobility of armed forces."
The premier's remark was made following the announcement of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday that the Thai army will not withdraw any troops from the Thai-Cambodian border, even though Indonesia is about to send a team of observers there. "I confirmed that Cambodia respected ceasefire and Cambodia has never invaded the other and has never opened fire first on the other," he said.
"If any Cambodian troops invade Thai territory, Thai can shoot them, and if Thai troops violate Cambodia, Cambodia will smash on the site or arrest on the site too," he added. "I publicly order my troops, don't violate the other."
The premier said that if Thailand does not invade and Cambodia does not invade, there will be no further clashes.
Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.
In the informal ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Jakarta on Feb. 22, at the invitations of Thailand and Cambodia, Indonesia agreed to send its 30 observers to the disputed border areas near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple soon in order to monitor the ceasefire between the two nations.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.